The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) summarily suspended the liquor license of Mr. Quiggley’s Inc, at 635 West Avenue in Lockport. The business was found operating in violation of the Governor’s Executive Order, which requires bars and restaurants to cease on-premises service of food and alcoholic beverages to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
The Lockport Police responded to a call regarding an altercation at Mr. Quiggley’s on April 10, 2020. Officers entered the bar and found five individuals present, some readily admitting to drinking inside the bar prior to the altercation. Officers determined the patrons involved in the dispute were intoxicated and had been drinking at the bar for hours. The manager was warned that service inside the premises was a violation. Based on these reports, on May 6th, the SLA charged the bar with failure to comply with Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order and for failure to supervise, but at that time did not suspend the license.
On May 8th the SLA received an additional report from the Lockport Police detailing another incident of on-premises consumption inside Mr. Quiggley’s. Police responding to a complaint discovered three patrons and the manager inside the bar consuming drinks. When police arrived, they witnessed the manager warning of the police presence and attempting to hide the drinks behind the bar. While the manager initially claimed the patrons were waiting for takeout, she later admitted the customers were consuming inside the bar.
The SLA also learned that a Lockport Building Inspector issued a formal violation notice to the premises on May 8th,following two prior verbal warnings for consumption on the premises. The SLA issued additional charges to the bar for the May 8 incident. On May 12th, the Lockport Building Inspection Department issued a closure order for violating the Governor’s EO and a defective fire system.
“This licensee received repeated warnings and chose to ignore them, causing an unnecessary and completely avoidable risk to patrons, police and the community,” said SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley. “While we’re grateful for the majority of businesses who are adhering to these essential measures in the face of this unprecedented health crisis, it should be crystal clear the SLA will not hesitate to take immediate actions to protect the public health and safety.”
The emergency suspension was ordered by Chairman Vincent Bradley, Commissioner Lily Fan, and Commissioner Greeley Ford at a meeting of the Full Board, conducted by a digitally recorded video conference call under social distancing guidelines, on May 13, 2020.
The State Administrative Procedure Act authorizes a State agency to summarily suspend a license when the agency finds that public health, safety, or welfare requires emergency action. When the SLA summarily suspends a license, it also serves a Notice of Pleading alleging one or more disciplinary violations. In invoking a summary suspension, the SLA has deemed the violation to be sufficiently serious upon initial review to warrant an immediate suspension. The SLA’s decision to summarily suspend a license is not a final determination on the merits of the case. The licensee is entitled to an expedited administrative law hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. An order of summary suspension remains in effect until such time as it is modified by the SLA or a reviewing Court.